High court actions launched against chain of creches

Parents issue plenary summonses against Hyde And Seek Childcare Ltd, Hyde and Seek Glasnevin Ltd

In March this year, the Hyde and Seek childcare group lodged defamation proceedings in the High Court against RTÉ over its programme. Photograph: Collins Courts

In March this year, the Hyde and Seek childcare group lodged defamation proceedings in the High Court against RTÉ over its programme. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

Actions on behalf of 15 babies and toddlers have been launched in the High Court against a chain of creches at the centre of an RTÉ Investigates exposé broadcast last year, latest court records show.

In a fresh tranche of cases seeking damages, the parents of four children issued plenary summonses this week against Hyde And Seek Childcare Ltd and Hyde and Seek Glasnevin Ltd.

Husband and wife Anne and Peter Davy, and daughter Siobhán Davy, of Lindsey Road, Drumcondra, Dublin, are named as co-defendants in the cases against the family-run business, which operates a number of creches in north Dublin.

The RTÉ programme Creches – Behind Closed Doors, which aired in July last year, provoked a huge controversy which led to investigations by Tusla, the child and family agency, as well as by the gardaí.

The programme used undercover reporting to investigate the standard of care in the creche chain.

In one plenary summons, a child is seeking damages for personal injuries, loss and damages which he suffered “as a result of the wrongful assault and battery occasioned to him” by staff.

It is alleged that the defendants are “vicariously liable” and the child claims further damages for “personal injuries , loss and damage caused by the negligence, breach of duty and breach of statutory duty of the defendants”.

Multiple cases

The children are being represented by Dublin-based Coleman Legal Partners.

It is understood up to 50 separate cases are to be brought against the defendants on behalf of children, and a further 20 on behalf of parents of children who attended the creches.

Following the broadcast of the RTÉ programme, an emergency meeting of the Oireachtas children’s committee was held and then children’s minister Katherine Zappone wrote to Tusla about strengthening its regulatory powers.

Tusla has issued proceedings alleging breaches of childcare regulations. It also ordered the chain’s four creches – at Glasnevin, Tolka Road, Shaw Street and Millbourne Avenue – to shut by the end of last year.

However, a District Court granted a stay on the de-registration of the crèches, allowing them to remain open.

Separately, a file has been sent by the gardaí to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In March this year, the Hyde and Seek childcare group lodged defamation proceedings in the High Court against RTÉ over its programme.

The proceedings were taken by Hyde and Seek Childcare Ltd, Hyde and Seek Glasnevin Ltd, and Anne and Peter and Siobhán Davy.

Defamation proceedings can be taken at any time within a year of the alleged defamation.